Outgoing British High Commissioner pays departing visit to girls school

Zubair Qureshi

The outgoing British High Commissioner, Dr Christian Turner CMG, visited Islamabad Model School for Girls, Jaba Taili, Islamabad on Thursday to observe how an innovative approach to professional development of teachers is delivering improved learning outcomes.

The High Commissioner visited classrooms where teachers are using tailored lesson plans, catering to the different learning levels of each student from underserved communities across Islamabad. These teachers, known as fellows, have been recruited and trained as part of a partnership between the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, UK, the Federal Directorate of Education, Islamabad and Teach for Pakistan. Director Academics, Ms Riffat Jabeen and Director Planning and Development, Inam Jahangir, of the Federal Directorate of Education, and Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Teach for Pakistan, Khadija Bakhtiar accompanied the High Commissioner during the visit.

Around 8 out of 10 Pakistani children can’t read a short paragraph by the age of 10. National Annual Status of Education Report, 2021 shows that overall learning levels are even lower in girls than boys between the ages of 5 and 16. Covid-19 and the recent devastating floods have further aggravated Pakistan’s learning crisis.

British High Commissioner, Christian Turner on the occasion said, “Girls’ education is key for Pakistan’s success. It reduces poverty, improves health and boosts the economy. The UK is working with Pakistan to help give every girl 12 years of quality education.”

Teach for Pakistan’s CEO Khadija Bakhtiar, added A key part of the TFP fellowship is about parental engagement. Learning accelerates when parents are able to fully participate in their children’s learning. Fellows develop community programmes – ranging from community libraries to science and technology competitions. All this helps to build the teacher-parent relationships, and ultimately strengthen the learning of individual children.

The recent campaign Aaj Kya Seekha led by civil society and supported by the UK, has similarly called attention to Pakistan’s learning crisis and the important role parents can play to support children in achieving improved learning outcomes.